The Dogs of War Are Winning

Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

Clearly, on this 22nd anniversary of 9/11, the dogs of war have won and continue to win.

It hasn’t mattered that, over the last 16 years, after a 20-year military career, I’ve written hundreds of articles critical of the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC) and in support of peacemaking and diplomacy rather than war making and gargantuan military expenditures. My writing hasn’t slowed America’s collective march toward nationalism, militarism, and war.

Lately, I’ve been working more closely with antiwar groups. They mean well. America needs them. But they are losing.

There are many reasons for this, the main one being the sheer size, reach, and power of the MICC. But there’s another reason that’s become apparent to me that’s perhaps best described in metaphorical terms.

The dogs of war run in packs obedient to the alphas. They know exactly what they want: power, profit, dominance. They are usually cocksure in their confidence and think of themselves as realists and patriots. They are rewarded with loads of money.

My cat. She does not back down to the dogs of war. But she’s territorial and doesn’t play well with others. She’s been known to show me who’s boss.

Critics of war are more like cats. They tend to be territorial, prickly, and disobedient. They may be against war, but they are often at cross purposes on how best to resist it. They may be quick to take offense at perceived slights and don’t always play well together.  They also have a lot less money. They are likely to see themselves as idealists and to reject patriotism as “combustible rubbish” and “the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

America is a dog country. Cats are suspect, especially antiwar ones. Especially brave cats (Daniel Hale, Chelsea Manning) are locked away in cages. Meanwhile, the alpha dogs make billions barking and growling and howling for war and yet more war.

Until we change this dynamic, the alpha dogs will continue to spread havoc in America and indeed across the globe.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools. He writes at Bracing Views.

4 thoughts on “The Dogs of War Are Winning”

  1. This dovetails well. June 21, 2023 How Daniel Ellsberg exposed the U.S. war machine and became a top enemy of empire

    Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level military analyst who courageously exposed four administrations’ criminal war on Vietnam and went on to become a leading peace and civil liberties activist, died on June 16 at the age of 92. Ellsberg was best-known for his 1971 release of 7,000 pages of copies of classified documents, which became famously known as the Pentagon Papers.×693.jpg

  2. War is the cornerstone of history. If you want to live in a “civilized” world meaning an urban dominated lifestyle then you either directly or indirectly support perpetual warfare. All civilizations are based on agriculture which was initially a survival subsistence. Sedentism, the growing of crops and herding of livestock ALWAYS yields an expanding human population coupled to a diminishing bio-diversity. At its simplest, a more stable food supply causes an ever expanding human population demanding ever more natural resources to consume. This is the Catch 22 of an agricultural subsistence. Excess people were the origin of the village, and hence civilization. The civilized social structure is based on a hierarchy of wealth, influence, privilege and power which creates inherent conflict. Worse, every civilization – past and present – eventually becomes deeply in debt both economically and ecologically. To be civilized means to live far beyond the collective’s means. Naturally, to obtain ever more resources, in due course the civilized declare war on their neighbors. For instance, civilization has been at war with aboriginal people for over 5,500 years.

    Just like in the past, the vast, vast majority of urbanites produce nothing of value or necessity … they just consume non-stop while vying for a higher place on the pyramid of power. If every city on Earth disappeared overnight, humanity and the ecosphere would begin to recover immediately.

  3. CodePink is doing excellent phone bank work on Congress to oppose funding for the war in Ukraine. I encourage folks to join them in this.

    They’re not my political cup of tea on most political issues but on this we align. I sure don’t see any magatards or right-wingers doing this (but let me know if I am wrong).

    No, this alone will not right the ship. Maybe nothing can. But on key issues that are truly in play (and Ukraine war funding does seem increasingly vulnerable in Congress these days), you win whatever incremental battles you can, maybe save a few lives before your own expires.

    What do you want to be able to say you’ve done about this when you reach the end? That you posted some based tweets and dank memes? I want more.

Comments are closed.